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Although he is currently struggling against lefties at Triple-A, Mike Moustakas went Kanye West on Houston’s Triple-A affiliate Round Rock, going four for six while launching three home runs and a three-run double for a total of 11 RBI in a 23 to 5 routing. In other minor league news, here are the Texas League Players of the Year and Post season All-Stars. Furthermore, here are the Minor League Hitters of the Week, notables include Ryan Lavarnway (BOS), Josh Reddick (BOS), and Cody Decker (SD); Minor League Pitchers of the Week, notables include last week’s Scouting the Unknown’s Matt Moore (TB), Alexander Torres (TB), and Johhn Lamb (KC). Now for the weekly installment of Scouting the Unknown.

Jake McGee | LHP – SP | Tampa Bay Rays | D.o.B: 8-6-86 | 6’3” | 230 lbs | B/T: L/L | 5th rd, 2004 form H.S. | TB #8 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

A possible September call-up to fill a bullpen role, McGee traversed Double-A and Triple-A this past year. He throws a mid 90’s fastball that tops out at 98 MPH, a three-quarter breaking ball “with good tilt,” and has shown good feel for the changeup. A Tommy John surgery survivor (has surgery in 2008), McGee was once considered the best left-handed pitcher in the minors prior to the injury. According to most sources, his surgery and recovery went smoothly – the numbers help too. He has struggled with his control for years, and that’s typically the last thing to return to Tommy John pitchers. His main struggle with control was, and is due to a fluctuating release point. If he can’t fix that problem, he could become a dominate reliever. Looking at his stats for this year let’s see how he’s pitched (12 1/3 IP as a reliever at Triple-A).

2010 Stats: 10.7 K/9 | 3.0 BB/9 | 101 IP | 3.12 ERA | 2.52 FIP | 1.18 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 7.6 H/9 | .333 BABIP | 42.5 GB% | 19.8 LD% | 33.2 FB% | 16.9 IF/FB% | 3.4 Hr/FB%

Career Stats: 10.4 K/9 | 3.4 BB/9 | 616 IP | 3.46 ERA | 3.15 FIP | 1.22 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 7.3 H/9 | .305 BABIP | 41.9 GB% | 16.2 LD% | 38.3 FB% | 18.0 IF/FB% | 6.0 Hr/FB%

If you stopped reading once you saw the double-digit strikeout rate, you missed his stellar peripheral dominance. Such as his reduced walk rate (3.0 BB/9), low home run rate (.3 Hr/9), and slightly unlucky batting average on balls in play (.333 BABIP). For all the concern over his control, he only has 34 walks in 101 innings of work, and only one walk in 12 1/3 innings at Triple-A with 20 strikeouts. Statistically speaking, he has made tremendous gains this year with his control while maintaining his jaw-dropping strikeout rates. Although Tampa Bay owns his rights, along with other young studs like Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis and other young pitchers, McGee could slip under the radar and provide excellent value for the savvy fantasy baseball player, especially if he were traded this offseason. He most likely will help the Rays during September’s push for the playoffs. I really like his strikeout potential and his team. He could be a cheap version of Aroldis Chapman for this year or repeat Neftali Feliz’s September 2009 (9 appearances with 16 strikeouts).

Paul Goldschmidt | 1B | Arizona Diamondbacks | D.o.B: 9-10-87 | 6’4” | 220 lbs | B/T: R/R | 8th rd, 2009 from College | ARI #13 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

Goldschmidt is no pyrite stone found in ordinary mines. No, instead, his hulking frame has reminded scouts of Pete “Inky” Incaviglia. Okay, maybe that name doesn’t ring any bells for my younger generation. Think of a massive power hitter who trailed off in his early thirties. After setting a Texas State University school record with 36 home runs in his collegiate career, Goldschmidt was taken in the eighth round in the 2009 draft. He went on to lead the hitter-friendly Pioneer League in homers (18) and slugging percentage (.638). He’s an aggressive hitter and his swing can get long and pull-happy far too often. Although he has a high strikeout rate, he controls the zone well, but will never hit for high average in the higher minors or major league. Defensively, he lacks speed to play the outfield, he doesn’t have great range, and isn’t a smooth fielder. Naturally, this makes him a first basemen. There is a possibility he plays left field because Arizona has a glut of corner infielders in their minor league system.

2010 Stats: .305/.375/.592 | 498 AB | 74 XBH | 33 Hr | .287 ISO | 153:53 K:BB | 4/1 SB/CS | .377 BABIP | 41.5 GB% | 14.9 LD% | 43.6 FB% | 13.5 IF/FB%

Career Stats: .316/.387/.609 | 785 AB | 122 XBH | 51 Hr | .293 ISO | 227:89 K:BB | 8/4 SB/CS | .387 BABIP | 39 GB% | 17.2 LD% | 43.5 FB% |10 IF/FB%

No one questions his power, they all say it’s legitimate, and is probably his only major tool. He will finish this year in the top five total home run hit in the entire minors. Keep in mind, his two season of professional baseball has been played in extreme hitting environments – the California League (2010) and the Pioneer League (2009) – with his statistics clearly representing the league he has played in. With a three-to-one strikeout to walk ratio, Goldschmidt will have a terrible time keeping his average above the .275 mark against better pitchers. Furthermore, his high batting average on balls in play (.377 BABIP in ’10 and .387 BABIP for career) show he has had a lot of luck playing into his slash line. Expecting his average to dwindle shouldn’t be a surprise. His power will sustain itself. Think Jack Cust, Chris Davis, Ian Stewart, Mark Reynolds, and Adam Dunn. He will have to prove himself at Double-A next year. If he plays next year anything like this year, he could channel Chris Davis’ 2008 season in 2011.

  1. GopherDay says:
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    Hey Stephen, excellent write up today! I am excited about McGee! Hopefully he gets traded to a team that could use him effectively!

    I wanted to know what you thought about Alex Colome (SP Rays) and Chris Withrow (SP Dodgers) They are both reletively high on BA’s 2010 rankings and were unowned in my dynasty league (Until I picked them up yesterday). I googled them quite a bit, but I wanted to know your insight about them. Thanks!

  2. GopherDay says:
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    @GopherDay: And for that matter, also Alexander Torres (SP Rays)

  3. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a write up on Colome and Torres (I did a mini-writeup on Withrow during the 2009 off-season). Torres was received in the Kazmir trade and I like his strikeouts but his control has been uninspiring. He has good upside, but may not be a starter if he can’t reign in his lack of control. Same thing can be said about Colome, but he is a year younger and two levels below Torres, plus he has had some problems with the long ball this year. Personally, Withrow is the least inspiring of the three, even though his hype is the largest of this group. Here is a brief review of each.

    Colome is a power pitcher throwing a fastball between 94 and 95 mph and tops out at 98 with a potential plus curveball. To stay a starter he’ll need to improve a spotty changeup and his control.

    Torres is more of a finesse pitcher with a 88 to 91 mph fastball but it is thrown with some deception and great movement. His curveball and slider are plus pitches but they aren’t power pitches. The control problems are due to his excessive movement on each pitch. That’s a good thing and a curse. Good ground ball rates.

    Withrow has a 92 to 95 mph fastball that hits upwards of 97 to 99 mph. He also has a great curveball. Struggles to stay healthy, has spotty command and his changeup is mediocre at best.

    Personally, I’d ranked them just as I wrote them, but Sickels and Baseball America has them: Withrow, Colome, Torres.

    Power pitchers usually get the hype because they have the highest upside. Withrow pitched a full season this year, but didn’t really do much to show substantial progress. His K:BB dropped and he has struggled to keep hitters off the base. Colome is a great long-term “sleeper” with tremendous upside and could potentially move two levels in 2011. Torres, if he wasn’t on the Rays, could be vying for a June call up in 2011 but his control will have to improve more. All three struggle with control with Colome having the best control of the group.

    I like your grab of Colome, and hope you can spin Withrow off onto someone else when his value is highest. I hope this was helpful and insightful.

  4. YourMom'sBoyfriend says:
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    @ Gopher Day

    Withrow has great stuff, but has been VERY disappointing this year. Very. Very. The only other more disappointing starter in my eyes in the minors is another Dodger: Ethan Martin. But I digress. He showed in Spring Training that he can strike out great hitters. However, that’s all he wants to do, it seems. He’s a thrower right now, NOT a pitcher.

    He’s got a GREAT arm. Can get to 99 effortlessly. Decent off speed stuff, but it seems that something’s not “clicking” with him. Super projectable (6’3″, 190), he just needs to learn how to pitch and not try to throw it by people. I think he’s 3 years away, but once he figures it out, I could see him as a Tommy Hanson-lite. Maybe more fastballs, less sliders than Hanson.

  5. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Yeah, that is REALLY helpful!

    I picked up Colome and Withrow, but Torres is still sitting out there unowned. Also Stetson Allie who the Pirates just drafted. He’s 19, but it looks like he has some legit upside.

    Would you rank the rest of my MiLB pitchers behind any of those three?
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Simon Castro
    SP Mike Montgomery
    SP Zach Britton
    SP Alex White
    SP Arodys Vizcaino
    SP Nick Hagadone

    Different note, but do you play in any dynasty leagues that have MiLB rosters?

  6. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @YourMom’sBoyfriend: Spot on. That’s what I would have said if I was just focusing on Withrow.

    @GopherDay: I’d hold everyone you have.

  7. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: I don’t play in any dynasty leagues with MiLB rosters. I wish I did, but I don’t. Not yet at least.

  8. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Okay, well I play in one…and there is another league that’s on the same site where we keep up with everything. If there is an opening in either of them, I’ll let you know. They are very competitive.

  9. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: *drooling* That kid is going to be a STUD. Top 10 prospect next season? Or is that overly optimistic?

  10. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: He is going to be a stud. I want to see what he will be doing at Double-A next year, but a top 10 prospect is plausible, definitely top 50.

  11. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    Via Rotoworld: Reds recalled 1B Yonder Alonso from Triple-A Louisville.
    The Reds have given Alonso some time in the outfield this season to see if he can handle it. The results haven’t been all that promising, but his bat is undeniable and may be major league-ready by 2011. For now, he will get a taste of big league life as a backup to MVP candidate Joey Votto.

    Braves purchased the contract of 1B Freddie Freeman from Triple-A Gwinnett.
    The 20-year-old phenom managed a .319 batting average, an .898 OPS and 18 home runs in 124 games for Gwinnett this season and could see a few looks at first base down the stretch if Derrek Lee is ailing. Freeman seems likely to open the 2011 season as Atlanta’s starting first baseman.

    Rays recalled RHP Jeremy Hellickson from Triple-A Durham.
    Hellickson has been working out of the bullpen for the past few weeks at Triple-A Durham and will serve a role in relief for the Rays down the stretch. He’s posted a 2.05 ERA and 25/4 K/BB ratio in 26 1/3 big-league innings this year and will go fairly high in fantasy drafts next season.

    Blue Jays recalled C J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A Las Vegas.
    Arencibia, of course, was 4-for-5 with two homers in a thrilling major league debut last month, however he went just 1-for-15 before being sent back to the minors. He’s almost certainly the catcher of the future in Toronto, but he’ll have to share playing time with John Buck and Jose Molina for now.

    Nationals purchased the contract of INF Danny Espinosa from Triple-A Syracuse.
    One of the team’s most promising position prospects, Espinosa compiled a .268/.337/.464 batting line to go along with 22 home runs, 69 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 481 at-bats between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this season. He has been red-hot recently, batting .359 (14-for-39) with three RBI and five runs scored over his last 10 games. He has been playing some second base since his promotion to Syracuse, suggesting that he’ll get some playing time there in September. Keep an eye on him in NL-only and keeper formats.

    Nationals recalled C Wilson Ramos from Triple-A Syracuse.
    He appeared in one game with the Nationals two weeks ago, but we knew he’d be back. Ramos, who came over from the Twins in the Matt Capps’ trade in July, was batting .316 with three homers and eight RBI over his first 20 games with Triple-A Syracuse. We’re hoping he gets plenty of playing time down the stretch. Keep him squarely on your radar in NL-only leagues.

    Diamondbacks recalled 1B-OF Brandon Allen from Triple-A Reno.
    Allen was batting .261/.405/.528 with 25 homers, 86 RBI and a 933 OPS in 371 at-bats with the Aces. The 24-year-old has played 33 games in left field this season to positive reviews, so he’s likely to see at least some time there with the big league club in September. He’s well worth an investment in NL-only and keeper leagues, even with Adam LaRoche as the everyday first baseman.

  12. Black Beard says:
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    @Stephen: Hmm…does this spell the end of John Buck as a mixed league catcher? Seems pretty crowded the rest of the way at C in TOR…should I look elsewhere?

  13. Nick says:
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    Please don’t compare Goldschmidt to Dunn – he wishes he was that good.

    Dunn, when in the minors, was hitting well over .300 – he was more in the mid-300s. He was also touted as a 5-Tool Player and had the stats to back it up. He never projected to be a high-strikeout power-hitting player like Goldschmidt, but thats what his free swinging caused him to be. And despite Dunn’s high K-rate, he still walks a good bit

  14. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Black Beard: J.P. Arencibia will struggle to get a lot of games in this year. Buck is safe for 2010.

    @Nick: I didn’t mean to say he is exactly like Dunn. I was intended to imply that their power is similar and that Goldschmidt could put up 35 to 40 homers in the majors with a power batting average. A better comparison would be Carlos Pena. Dunn would be the extreme upside, but Goldschmidt will never have the 5-tool upside Dunn possessed in the minors.

    Dunn also only played a couple of seasons in the minors with great K:BB rates (three to be exact, and only 3/4 of one above High-A; splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2001), his free swinging would have eventually been exploited by the high minors if he would have had more than 350 at-bats above High-A. Speaking of above High-A, he had 45 of his 60 total steals at Class Single-A. Much like Brandon Belt, he was able to steal of the still learning catchers and pitchers focusing on, well, pitching. Not to dismiss your comment, but cause you’re right, just adding some other information to the pot.

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